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Dental Health Professional Shortage Areas

A dental health professional shortage area (DHPSA) is a geographic area where there aren’t enough dentists to serve the dental needs of the people living there. The designation is used primarily for the purposes of giving loan repayment for dentists and dental hygienists. Visit Loan Repayment Programs for more information about these programs.

An area must meet three requirements to become a HPSA:

• The area must be defined as a “rational service area,” meaning that the area must be homogenous and logical in terms of demographics, socio-economics and physical barriers. Often, rural     HPSAs are defined either by county or a group of townships. Urban HPSAs are described by defined neighborhoods or groups of census tracts.

• A specific dentist-to-population ratio for each type of HPSA must be met.

• The application for the HPSA must verify that there are not enough dental services available in neighboring areas for the population seeking the designation.

Requests for dental HPSA designations can be made at any time. Each designation is periodically updated. 

For more detailed information (e.g., townships or census tracts contained in each HPSA), access the national HPSA database maintained by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.

For more information:

Ohio Department of Health
Primary Care Office
246 N. High St. - 7th Floor
Columbus, Ohio  43215

Telephone: (614) 644-8496
Fax:             (614) 564-2432


Page Updated: 02/08/2018